I am so glad I prefaced my season predictions with a column that stressed how media or team predictions mattered very little because my midterm grade is a high “F.” Here are the grades I gave the five schools I cover:
Matanzas (5-0): A++. I talked to coach Robert Ripley, and even he didn’t expect to be undefeated this far into the season. Matanzas is, without a doubt, one of the best stories in high school football. In two weeks, Mainland will host the Pirates for their homecoming game. I don’t think the Bucs were expecting this Matanzas team as a homecoming opponent. There is a legitimate belief around the area that Matanzas could potentially shock the prep football world on Oct. 16. We shall see.
Mainland (5-0): A. I consider Mainland a physical-education grade. All I have to do is predict either a perfect record or a loss, and I would easily be made to look decent. While there have been moments where they looked normal, their recent defensive shutdown of Dr. Phillips lends to the opinion that the new and older players are beginning to sync, so expect a lot more winning going forward.
Father Lopez (2-2): B. The Green Wave has two big wins and two big losses, so it seem to be what their record indicates — maybe still trending upwards. Quarterback Josh Spencer is one of the area’s leading passers, and he has yet to reach his peak, and his weapons are making him look that much better. They’re still in great shape and could be better, if, Spencer didn’t have to play both sides of the ball.
Flagler Palm Coast (1-3): C+. There are many instances when I believe the cliché, “We’re better than our record shows,” is not true, but I think this properly fits with the Bulldogs. It’s no secret they lost a ton of talent from last year, but two of their losses were close games against currently undefeated teams. With one of the best running backs in the area, they will get more wins; I’m anxious to see how their last six games will play out.
Seabreeze (0-5): C-. In my school days, I was always told that anyone who works really hard will, at least, make a “C,” and it is clear that the Sandcrabs work every Friday night, despite their losses. They haven’t been able to recover from losing their 14-year head coach and key offensive and defensive players, which included the majority of their offensive line.